Tuatara infielder Josh Morgan Photo / Brett Fewson (SMP Images/ABL)
The Auckland Tuatara may not have been at their best but they still got the job done against a fighting Geelong Korea last night at QBE Stadium in Albany.
They won 9-7 in a game eerily similar to the one the previous night, in a game that featured 23 hits, two ties, three lead changes and two explosive half-innings from each offense. It was also the Tuatara's 10th win in a row at home, improving their overall season record to 15 wins and 12 losses.
Friday saw the Tuatara shoot out to a 9-0 lead in the second innings, then watch it steadily evaporate as the Koreans came back to make it 9-8. The visitors took that momentum into Saturday and found themselves up 1-0 after their first turn at bat.
That lead did not last long, however, with the red hot Jared Walker smashing a stand up double to bring home Josh Morgan and tie up the game.
Kent Blackstone gave Auckland the lead in the second with his third bomb of the season, a deep home run onto the hill in right-field that was caught by a lucky spectator, who won himself free pizza for a year,
Geelong-Korea took back the lead in the third. Seung-Hyun Baek’s solo homer, his first of the season, tied the game 2-2, before Chang-ki Hong’s ninth double of the year drove in Kang to put the visitors back on top.
Josh Morgan then launched his fourth home run of the season, a two-run blast, that gave the Tuatara their second lead. Kim Won-Seok doubled to extend the lead to 5-3. Andrew Marck then singled on a line-drive to left to score Kim.
Fair old game, this. Josh Morgan goes 💥💥💥 to give the Tuatara the lead again!! Two ties and three lead changes through three innings. #ABL— Australian Baseball League (@ABL) January 4, 2020
WATCH LIVE: https://t.co/YDkik8decV pic.twitter.com/ioq24SNmTP
But the Koreans were not going away. Byeong-woo Jeon launched a three-run bomb to cut the lead to three in the fifth. One pitch later, Il Hur hit his first blast of the season to cut the lead to two, 9-7.
Jimmy Boyce got through 4.1 innings and received a thorough talking to by Tuatara manager Steve Mintz when things started to go awry, with Mintz determined not to repeat the close shave from 24 hours earlier.
Hever Bueno came in to close out that innings and the next, before Lucas Jacobson took the mound and fired down three consecutive strike outs to end the game.
The two sides meet Sunday at 1pm at QBE Stadium for the last game of their series. The Tuatara still sit atop the Northeast Division, with only three weeks to go till the Australian Baseball League playoffs.